Module title: Media Law for Journalists

SCQF level: 08:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: JAC08107
Module leader: Simon Pia
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Media and Screen


2019/0, Trimester 2, Face-to-Face,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Clare Trodden
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Learning & teaching methods
The students will combine experiential learning, by visiting and observing a live court case or sentencing diet with lectures, self study and peer learning by discussion of the main themes. Through reading and discussion, students will critically engage with a recent court decision and write a report which will demonstrate their critical engagement and knowledge of reporting constraints (LO 1,2,3). In the rolling, online news report students will be able to evaluate the dangers of defamation and libel for journalists and the media and this will be discussed in the tutorials (LO 3,4). The test will include a legalling exercise and questions on the role of regulators and definitions of Defamation, Contempt of Court and Privacy. Lastly lectures, reading and practice in the tutorials will enable students to self-legal their own and others’ written copy for legal errors and reporting transgressions (LO 4 & 5).

Embedding of employability/PDP
A good working knowledge of the law is an essential requirement for any journalist and the better the understanding then the more employable the journalist is.

Formative Assessment:
As work on your project progresses you will receive formative feedback and practical input from your tutor. The court report will demonstrate a basic understanding of the Scottish judicial system by discussing a case (LO 1-3). This will make up 25% of your summative assessment. A further rolling, online news report will provide a general wider context on media law for journalists and will make up a further 25% of the summative assessment (LO 1-4). The remaining 50% is made up of a class test, which will include a self-legalling exercise and questions on Defamation, Contempt of Court and Privacy for Journalists. (LO 3-5)

Summative Assessment:

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 12
Face To Face Tutorial 18
Independent Learning Guided independent study 170
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Report 40 1-5 10 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 800
Report 20 3-5 9 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 0
Portfolio 40 1-5 12 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 1400
Component 1 subtotal: 60
Component 2 subtotal: 40
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

The module will cover libel, defamation, copyright, criminal and civil courts, criminal procedure, reporting of minors, reporting of sexual crimes and contempt of court.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to:
LO1 Write a running, nine news report on a criminal case, which complies with Scottish reporting constraints
LO2 Consider regulations and reporting restrictions for journalists
LO3 Self-legal written copy and video/audio pieces
L)4 Explain the law of Defamation, Contempt of Court and Privacy for Journalists
LO5 Understand the legal implications for online/social media activity and global communication

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:

Please contact your Module Leader for details
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